• Bishop Desmond Tutu obituary

    From Steve Hayes@21:1/5 to All on Fri Dec 31 04:58:12 2021
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    Desmond Tutu, South African equality activist and Nobel Peace Prize
    winner, dead at 90

    The Associated Press · Posted: Dec 26, 2021 6:39 AM ET | Last Updated: December 27

    Desmond Tutu, South Africa's Nobel Peace Prize-winning activist for
    racial justice and LGBT rights and retired Anglican Archbishop of Cape
    Town, has died, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa announced
    Sunday. He was 90.

    An uncompromising foe of apartheid — South Africa's brutal regime of oppression against the Black majority — Tutu worked tirelessly, though non-violently, for its downfall.

    The buoyant, blunt-spoken clergyman used his pulpit as the first Black
    bishop of Johannesburg and later Archbishop of Cape Town, as well as
    frequent public demonstrations to galvanize public opinion against
    racial inequity both at home and globally.

    Tutu's death on Sunday "is another chapter of bereavement in our
    nation's farewell to a generation of outstanding South Africans who
    have bequeathed us a liberated South Africa," Ramaphosa said in a

    Desmond Tutu, who won a Nobel Peace Prize for his non-violent fight
    against apartheid in South Africa, died at the age of 90. Prime
    Minister Justin Trudeau was one of several world leaders who paid
    tribute to Tutu, calling him a tireless advocate for human rights.

    Tutu died peacefully at the Oasis Frail Care Center in Cape Town, the Archbishop Desmond Tutu Trust said in a statement on Sunday.

    Tutu had been hospitalized several times since 2015, after being
    diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1997.

    In recent years he and his wife, Leah, lived in a retirement community
    outside Cape Town.

    'The people's archbishop'

    Throughout the 1980s — when South Africa was gripped by anti-apartheid violence and a state of emergency giving police and the military
    sweeping powers — Tutu was one of the most prominent Black residents
    able to speak out against abuses.

    A lively wit lightened Tutu's hard-hitting messages and warmed
    otherwise grim protests, funerals and marches. Short, plucky,
    tenacious, he was a formidable force, and apartheid leaders learned
    not to discount his canny talent for quoting apt scriptures to harness righteous support for change.

    The Nobel Peace Prize in 1984 highlighted his stature as one of the
    world's most effective champions for human rights, a responsibility he
    took seriously for the rest of his life.

    With the end of apartheid and South Africa's first democratic
    elections in 1994, Tutu celebrated the country's multi-racial society,
    calling it a "rainbow nation," a phrase that captured the heady
    optimism of the moment.

    Nicknamed "the Arch," Tutu was diminutive, with an impish sense of
    humour, but he became a towering figure in his nation's history —
    comparable to fellow Nobel laureate Nelson Mandela, a prisoner during
    white rule who became South Africa's first Black president. Tutu and
    Mandela shared a commitment to building a better, more equal South

    In 1990, after 27 years in prison, Mandela spent his first night of
    freedom at Tutu's residence in Cape Town. Later, Mandela called Tutu
    "the people's archbishop."

    Upon becoming president in 1994, Mandela appointed Tutu to be chairman
    of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which uncovered the abuses
    of the apartheid system.
    Advocated for LGBT rights

    Tutu campaigned internationally for human rights, especially LGBT
    rights and same-sex marriage.

    "I would not worship a God who is homophobic and that is how deeply I
    feel about this," he said in 2013, launching a campaign for LGBT
    rights in Cape Town. "I would refuse to go to a homophobic heaven. No,
    I would say, 'Sorry, I would much rather go to the other place.'"

    Tutu said he was "as passionate about this campaign [for LGBT rights]
    as I ever was about apartheid. For me, it is at the same level." He
    was one of the most prominent religious leaders to advocate for LGBT
    rights. Tutu's very public stance put him at odds with many in South
    Africa and across the continent, as well as within the Anglican

    South Africa, Tutu said, was a nation of promise for racial
    reconciliation and equality, even though he grew disillusioned with
    the African National Congress, the anti-apartheid movement that became
    the ruling party in 1994 elections. His outspoken remarks long after
    apartheid sometimes angered partisans, who accused him of being biased
    or out of touch.

    Tutu was particularly incensed by the South African government's
    refusal to grant a visa to the Dalai Lama, preventing the Tibetan
    spiritual leader from attending Tutu's 80th birthday celebration, as
    well as a planned gathering of Nobel laureates in Cape Town. South
    Africa rejected Tutu's accusations that it was bowing to pressure from
    China, a major trading partner.

    Early in 2016, Tutu defended the reconciliation policy that ended
    white minority rule amid increasing frustration among some South
    Africans who felt they had not seen the expected economic
    opportunities and other benefits since apartheid ended. Tutu had
    chaired the Truth and Reconciliation Commission that investigated
    atrocities under apartheid and granted amnesty to some perpetrators,
    but some people believe more former white officials should have been prosecuted.

    A teacher first

    Desmond Mpilo Tutu was born on Oct. 7, 1931, in Klerksdorp, west of Johannesburg, and became a teacher before entering St. Peter's
    Theological College in Rosetenville in 1958 for training as a priest.
    He was ordained in 1961 and six years later became chaplain at the
    University of Fort Hare. Moves to the tiny southern African kingdom of
    Lesotho and to Britain followed, with Tutu returning home in 1975.

    He became bishop of Lesotho, chairman of the South African Council of
    Churches and, in 1985, the first Black Anglican bishop of
    Johannesburg. In 1986, he became the first Black Archbishop of Cape
    Town. He ordained women priests and promoted gay priests.

    Tutu was arrested in 1980 for taking part in a protest and later had
    his passport confiscated for the first time. He got it back for trips
    to the United States and Europe, where he held talks with the UN
    secretary general, the Pope and other church leaders.
    Tutu delivers a sermon at the Regina Mundi Church in Soweto on June
    23, 1985, protesting against the South African raid into Botswana.
    (Gideon Mendel/AFP/Getty Images)

    Tutu often conducted funeral services after the massacres that marked
    the negotiating period of 1990-94. He railed against Black-on-Black
    political violence, asking crowds, "Why are we doing this to
    ourselves?" In one powerful moment, Tutu defused the rage of thousands
    of mourners in a township soccer stadium after the Boipatong massacre
    of 42 people in 1992, leading the crowd in chants proclaiming their
    love of God and themselves.

    After Mandela became president in 1994, he asked Tutu to head the
    truth commission to promote racial reconciliation. The panel listened
    to harrowing testimony about torture, killings and other atrocities
    during apartheid. At some hearings, Tutu wept openly.

    "Without forgiveness, there is no future," he said at the time. The commission's 1998 report lay most of the blame on the forces of
    apartheid, but it also found the African National Congress guilty of
    human rights violations. The ANC sued to block the document's release,
    earning a rebuke from Tutu. "I didn't struggle in order to remove one
    set of those who thought they were tin gods to replace them with
    others who are tempted to think they are," Tutu said.

    Asked once how he wanted to be remembered, he told The Associated
    Press: "He loved. He laughed. He cried. He was forgiven. He forgave.
    Greatly privileged."

    Tutu is survived by his wife of 66 years and their four children.
    Prince Harry, left, looks on as Tutu waves at people during his visit
    to the Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation in Cape Town in 2015.
    (Schalk van Zuydam/The Associated Press)
    The world reacts

    Leaders and celebrities around the world expressed their condolences
    following the announcement of Tutu's death.

    "Throughout a remarkable life, Archbishop Tutu used his vision of interconnectedness, equality and forgiveness to advocate for a better,
    more peaceful world," Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a

    "While he was best known for his non-violent opposition to apartheid
    in South Africa and work to heal divisions as the 'Rainbow Nation'
    moved toward democracy, his actions resonated everywhere, especially
    with oppressed peoples and their struggle for freedom and equality."

    U.S. President Joe Biden also shared his memories of the late
    archbishop, calling him "a true servant of God and of the people."

    "His legacy transcends borders and will echo throughout the ages,"
    Biden said in a statement.


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